AFC Asian Cup 2019: 5 talking points as Qatar down Iraq in end-to-end encounter

Qatar Iraq

With Qatar progressing to the quarter-finals following a 1-0 win against Iraq, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points.

Bassam Al-Rawi’s free-kick in the 62nd minute was enough to send Qatar through to the quarter-finals in what was a scintillating end-to-end encounter.

5. Injury-stricken Tariq leaves field in tears 

It was bad news for Iraq early on in terms of the injury-front, as Humam Tariq pulled up with not even a quarter of the match having elapsed. Considered one of the brightest youngsters in Iraqi football, it was nothing short of grief for Tariq, who signalled to the bench in tears on realizing he would not be able to continue.

He was subsequently stretchered off the pitch. To make matters worse, his side were ultimately knocked out of the tournament courtesy of defeat by a solitary goal – only leaving him with enough room to wonder what might have been.

4. End-to-end half ends goalless

Arguably one of the best matches of the tournament in terms of the tempo, it was a surprise that the score stood at 0-0 come half-time.

Qatar kicked-off the proceedings, with Hassan rattling the crossbar as early as the 4th minute, before Mohanad Ali spurned two chances for Iraq – failing to keep his header on target and then making a hash of his first touch when given the opportunity to run clean through.

While clear chances were few and far in between after the first 25 minutes, the game continued at the same breakneck speed until the referee finally blew his whistle for half-time.

3. Al-Rawi free-kick breaks deadlock 

AFC Asian Cup 2019: Qatar 1-0 Iraq – Bassam Al-Rawi (62′)

The second half of the game was no different than the first, with both teams at it from the go. Having been excellent throughout the tournament, the wily Afif won his side another chance just outside the area – drawing a foul from Al-Saedi.

It was then that Bassam Al-Rawi smelt blood, stepping up to place a darting free-kick over the wall and past the goalkeeper to put Qatar one-up.

2. Iraq fail to pile on the pressure immediately after the goal

Having gone a goal down with 30 minutes to go, one would have reasonably expected the Iraqis to go all out and lay siege to the Qatar goal.

However, it was instead Qatar who put further pressure on Iraq, creating chances with some scintillating football and would have put the game to bed but for some poor conversion, making for a nervous final 10 minutes.

1. Game-management gets Qatar through 

Qatar

Having failed to put the game to bed, Qatar braced themselves for an Iraq onslaught, which finally came in the final 10 minutes of the game. Awoken from their slumber with the realization that they may well find themselves knocked out of the tournament – Iraq finally moved up the gears post the 80th minute, probing and pushing for an equalizer.

At the end of the day, however, it was some smart game-management from the Qataris which got them through to the next round – drawing fouls at every opportunity, slowing things down to the second and running down the clock at every chance.

It was no surprise then that Iraq lost even the little bit of tempo they had managed to muster in the final 10 minutes and in the end succumbed to the World Cup hosts by one single goal.

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